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Smaller crop could help Zimbabwe’s growers

| March 5, 2015
When less is more

When less is more

Zimbabwe is this year likely to produce between 183 million and 194 million kg of flue-cured tobacco, down from 216 million kg last year, according to a story in The Herald quoting figures from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB). The 10-15 percent decline in the crop was said by the TIMB’s chief executive Dr. Andrew Matibiri to have been caused by unfavourable weather conditions this season.

Meanwhile, the TIMB chairperson, Monica Chinamasa, said that the decline in production this year, while worrying, could work in favour of farmers because demand for the country’s tobacco had remained stable at about 230 million kg. “Last year there was demand for 230 million kg and we managed to sell all our tobacco,” she said.

“This year the demand has remained constant, which means that there is likely to be competition in terms of buying tobacco, which should push up prices.”

Hoffmann names new executives

| March 4, 2015

Hoffmann, a Swiss supplier of tobacco packaging, has named two new executives: Tomas Pivko and Jorg Helas. Pivko, who became a member of the executive management for Hoffmann Neopac AG on Jan. 1, will succeed Kurt Luthi as head of sales for tins at Hoffmann.

Luthi retired at the end of 2014 after serving for many years as director of sales and marketing. Pivko has worked for the company as sales manager since 2011, acquiring new international customers and maintaining key accounts. Before he joined Hoffmann, Pivko spent 12 years in the packaging industry, serving in the roles of key account manager, sales manager and product manager.

“I’m excited about the new challenge and approaching it with passion and focus,” said Pivko. “Thanks for your confidence in me and the entire Hoffmann sales team—and I look forward to continuing the great collaboration.”

Helas, who also joined the company in 2011, will succeed Artur Wichowski as Hoffmann’s new head of development in Thun, Switzerland, under the leadership of Andreas Geiger. Prior to his work at Hoffmann, Helas spent several years working as a project manager in the packaging industry.

“I’m pleased to have already launched a new tin this year, which is unique in terms of form and function,” he said.


Jorg Helas

Jorg Helas

Tomas Pivko

Tomas Pivko


Concerns raised over secretive TPPA negotiations

| March 4, 2015

Raising concerns about the potential impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTPA) on public health and access to medicines is essential for creating awareness among policymakers about the implications of trade policy decisions, according to a story in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The authors, Anne Marie T Thow, Deborah H Gleeson and Sharon Friel, said that the Australian Medical Association and the Public Health Association of Australia had already raised such concerns.

Now, doctors could help protect public health by highlighting the effects of proposed provisions on patients, opposing health-damaging provisions, arguing for the agreement to be worded in ways that protect public health and seeking greater transparency in the TPPA negotiations.

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam are involved in the TPPA negotiations.

The authors said that while the Australian government had stated it would not enter into an agreement that compromised public health, independent assessment of the implications for public health was severely limited by lack of transparency in the negotiations.

It pointed out that the agreement would not be made public until after it is signed.

Nevertheless, leaked documents had shown that an investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism was being negotiated for the TPPA. This enabled foreign investors – including companies that manufactured, marketed and distributed health-damaging products – to seek compensation from governments for policies that negatively affected them. A similar mechanism in another treaty had enabled Philip Morris Asia to sue the Australian government over plain tobacco packaging.

Later, the authors mentioned the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly that was currently using an ISDS mechanism to sue the Canadian government for invalidating patents for two drugs that were allegedly found not to deliver the promised benefits.

The story is at:

Public places bans alone do little to reduce smoking

| March 4, 2015

Banning smoking in enclosed public places has no significant impact on smoking at home, according to a story by Marc Weisblott for Concordia University, citing research recently published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

“What distinguishes people who restrict smoking at home is the presence of a non-smoker,” says Sylvia Kairouz, an associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “The social network seems to be more of a factor than the law.”

With advance knowledge of a smoking ban in Quebec, Canada, which took effect in May 2006, researchers were able to collect data from a representative cross-section of the population a month ahead of time. They then followed up a year and a half later.

Kairouz believes that there needs to be an integrated approach to encourage people to quit smoking; one that includes “ecological measures along with taxation, prevention and information”.

“But one of the most important components is to have public health services available for people who are trying to quit,” she said.

The research carried out by Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, was supported by an operating grant from the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative and a contribution from the Ministère de santé et services sociaux.

Abundant evidence vaping is safer than smoking

| March 4, 2015

vaperA US health expert has said that a study in the journal, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, ‘adds to the abundant and growing body of evidence that electronic cigarettes are orders of magnitude safer than tobacco cigarettes and suggests that brands of e-cigarettes that do not overheat the e-liquid may be associated with very minor absolute health risks’.

Writing on his blog, Dr. Michael Siegel, who is a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, said these findings should put an end to the assertions of many e-cigarette opponents that electronic cigarettes are not any safer than tobacco cigarettes. It exposed those public statements as being lies.

‘This research also demonstrates how misguided the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] is in its scientific judgment,’ Siegel wrote. ‘Despite all of the evidence, with numerous studies demonstrating results similar to those above, with studies showing rapid clinical improvement in smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, and with studies showing that the acute cardiovascular and pulmonary effects of smoking due not occur with vaping, the FDA is not sure that smoking is not any more hazardous than vaping.’

Siegel’s blog is at:

BAT submits proposed offer for Souza Cruz

| March 4, 2015
Going to Hollywood

Aiming for Hollywood

British American Tobacco has submitted a proposed offer for Souza Cruz.

In a note posted on its website yesterday, BAT said that, through its Brazilian controlled company British American Tobacco Prestação de Serviços, it had filed with the Brazilian securities regulator, the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM), a request to register a public tender offer to acquire up to all of the 24.7 percent of Souza Cruz shares that are not currently owned by BAT and to delist the company.

‘The offer for Souza Cruz’s shares is at a price per share of R$26.75, to be paid in cash, in Brazilian Reais, and to be reduced by any dividend paid by Souza Cruz,’ the note said. ‘A price of R$26.75 per share would represent a premium of 30.0 percent to Souza Cruz’s volume weighted average closing share price over the three months to Friday 20 February 2015 (being the last trading day before BAT’s possible offer for Souza Cruz was announced).

‘In accordance with the relevant Brazilian rules, N M Rothschild & Sons (Brasil) Limitada (Rothschild) was appointed as independent evaluator and has carried out an independent valuation of Souza Cruz as part of the offer process which has been filed with the CVM. On a discounted cashflow basis the Rothschild report gives a range of R$22.09 to R$24.54 per Souza Cruz share.

‘The offer is still subject to prior approval by the CVM. Upon approval, a formal offer can be made by BAT which will remain subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent, including acceptance of the offer by two-thirds of the holders of free float shares that qualify for the auction. The terms and conditions of the offer are described in further detail in the form of notice of the offer (Edital) which will be available to view on the CVM’s website.’

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